I get petitioned by various vendors. Most of the time, they don't follow up or their prices aren't notable. But today, I talked to this one guy, and his prices are significantly cheaper than the Chicago company. It's like wholesale vs. retail. The guy was so eager for getting my business that he's already set up an account for us.
For my firm's sake, it's far better to buy from this guy. But only I know about his company. I enjoy talking to Rose, and management would never be the wiser if I kept buying from her overpriced company. Rose would be hurt if I stopped being her client, and my work week would be less interesting without our chats. However, the responsible side of me feels that I should do my job better and go with the cheaper, local company. It's stupid supplies. It doesn't play a factor in my job 95% of the time, and it's not my money that's being spent on the supplies, and my company's making pretty good money.
So, if you were in my shoes, would you go with your friend, and enjoy the talks and laughter and free cookies (she includes cookies in with our orders) at significantly higher rates, which doesn't effect your job at all? Or would you do the other thing and buy the better priced goods, and maybe get a pat on the back for saving the firm money, but probably losing touch with that friend due to business differences?